Friday, August 31, 1962: Last Navy airship flight

From the Associated Press: "LAKEHURST NAVAL AIR STATION, N.J. -- A big white airship ghosted up from its moorings Friday and loomed in the sky for two hours. With its descent the era of the Navy blimp was over. ... The Navy abandoned the blimp program last November. The ship that made Friday's ceremonial trip had been retained by the service for research purposes now completed."

Photo from U.S. Naval Institute. Caption reads, "Airship ZPG-2 (Serial #141559) made the last flight for a U.S. Navy airship on August 31, 1962, thus ending a 45-year Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) saga that began with the DN-1, the Navy's first airship."

* Naval Airship Association website: @
* "Kite Balloons to Airships ... The Navy's Lighter-Than-Air Experience" (Naval Historical Center): @
* "They Sailed the Skies: U.S. Navy Balloons and the Airship Program" (Joseph Gordon Vaeth, 2005): @
* "Airships and Balloons in the World War II Period" (U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission): @
* "Last One Out, Shut Off the Helium" (Air & Space magazine, 2011): @
* "After 50 years, Navy resumes airship program" (Navy Times, 2011): @
* 1957 ad: @
* 1958 newsreel: @


Friday, August 17, 1962: Peter Fechter

The East German bricklayer, 18, is shot as he tries to cross the Berlin Wall to the West. For almost an hour he lies dying in a no-man's land between the two sectors, with neither the East German troops nor the West German and American guards coming to his aid. His body is finally carried away by the East Germans. Fechter's last minutes were seen in pictures and footage around the world. (Photos from Corbis Images)

* Summary (from Berlin Wall Memorial website): @
* Excerpt from "The Victims at the Berlin Wall 1961-1989: A Biographical Handbook" (Hans Hermann-Hertle and Maria Nooke, 2011): @
* Story in Life magazine (August 31; scroll down to "The Boy Who Died on the Wall"): @
* Fechter memorial (from www.berlin.de): @
* Video (from britishpathe.com): @
* Photo from National Archives: @


Thursday, August 16, 1962: Pete Best

The Beatles' drummer is fired from the group, primarily because producer George Martin did not think his playing was good enough. Best is replaced by Ringo Starr, whose first gig with the band would be August 18.

Note: The image is from Mersey Beat, which announced the news in its August 23-September 6 issue.

* Entry from www.beatlesbible.com: @
* Entry from www.the-beatles-history.com: @
* Photos of the new lineup (taken August 22; from beatlesource.com): @
* Pete Best biography from Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat: @
* www.petebest.com: @
* "The Beatles' many drummers" (from www.onlynorthernsongs.blogspot.ie): @
* Previous Beatles post (George Martin audition, June 6): @


Wednesday, August 15, 1962: Lei Feng

The Chinese soldier, 22, dies after being struck by a falling telephone pole, which had been hit by a military truck.

From China Central Television (CCTV): "Lei Feng was characterized as a selfless and modest person who was devoted to the Communist Party. In the posthumous ' Learn from Comrade Lei Feng' campaign, initiated by Mao in 1963, Lei became the symbol of nationwide propaganda; the youth of the country were encouraged to follow his example."

This 1965 poster translates as "Uncle Lei Fing tells revolutionary stories." The red scarves indicate that the children are Young Pioneers, members of the Communist youth organization. (Image from chineseposters.net; link below.)

* More from CCTV: @
* Entry from "Dictionary of the Political Thought of the People's Republic of China" (Henry Yuhuai He, 2001): @
* Fushun Lei Feng Memorial Hall: @
* "When Lei Feng meets non-believers" (Global Times, March 2012): @
* "Chinese Heroism Effort Is Met With Cynicism" (New York Times, March 2012): @
* Collection of posters from chineseposters.net: @
* "The Good Soldier Lei Feng" (from iconicphotos.wordpress.com): @
* Links from www.morningsun.org: @


Sunday, August 5, 1962: Nelson Mandela arrested

Anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is arrested on charges of inciting a workers' strike and leaving South Africa illegally; he is confined, the beginning of imprisonment that would last until 1990. (He would be sentenced on November 7.) Photo from June 1962.
* Excerpts from trial: @
* "Fiftieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela's sentencing" (from www.nelsonmandelaorg): @
* "The Mystery of Mandela's Arrest" (Wall Street Journal, December 2012): @
* Nelson Mandela Museum: @
* Mandela entry on African National Congress site: @ 

Sunday, August 5, 1962: Marilyn Monroe

From The Associated Press, August 6:
Blonde and beautiful Marilyn Monroe, a glamorous symbol of the gay, exciting life of Hollywood, died tragically Sunday.
Her body was found in bed, a probable suicide. She was 36.
The long-troubled star clutched a telephone in one hand. An empty bottle of sleeping pills was nearby.

From United Press International, August 6:
Marilyn Monroe was dead Monday at 36, victim of an overdose of drugs which ended a tempestuous, glamorous rocket ride to fame and personal tragedy.
The figure on which she rose to stardom was found stretched across the bed of her modest Brentwood home, her lifeless hand grasping a telephone.

* "Death of a Star" (newsreel): @
* Newsreel of funeral: @
* Newsreel archive footage (from British Pathe): @
* "The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe" (Donald H. Wolfe, 2012): @
* "Marilyn Monroe: The FBI Files" (2007): @
* "Marilyn lets her hair down about being famous" (Life magazine, August 3, 1962): @
* marilynmonroe.com: @
* Earlier post on "Happy birthday, Mr. President" (May 19, 1962): @
* Earlier post on "The Misfits" (February 1, 1961): @


Saturday, August 4, 1962: Carolina Snowball

The rare albino dolphin is captured off the coast of South Carolina. She is transported to the Miami Seaquarium, where she is a star attraction until her death on May 4, 1965.

* Entry from moldville.com (includes account of capture from Captain William Gray): @
* "The Improbable Hunt for the White Porpoise" (Life magazine, September 21, 1962): @
* "Rare albino dolphin poses problems for Seaquarium" (Associated Press story, September 1962): @
* "Stuart man's replica of Carolina Snowball preserves rare albino dolphin's legacy" (from www.tcpalm.com, May 2012): @
* "Albino Dolphin in Northern Gulf of Mexico" (from NOAA Fisheries Service): @


Friday, August 3, 1962: Elephant on LSD

In an effort to simulate the periodic aggressive behavior shown by male elephants, researchers inject LSD into Tusko, an elephant at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City. Five minutes after the injection, Tusko falls onto his side and goes into a seizure-like state. Despite (or possibly because of) subsequent injections of drugs to counteract the LSD reaction, Tusko dies, less than 2 hours after the initial dosage.

From an August 4 story by the Associated Press:
Medical research scientists gave Tusko, a 7,000-pound male elephant in the Oklahoma City zoo, an injection of an experimental drug used to induce temporary mental illness. Five minutes later, Tusko collapsed and died. Researchers were surprised, because the dosage given the 10-year-old animal Friday was less powerful than the contents of an aspirin tablet. Dr. L.J. West, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma, had taken a dose of the drug Thursday. West said in humans, the drug, lysergic acid diethylamide, produces an illness similar to schizophrenia. Psychiatrists seeking a cure for mental illness often take it for a self-study of the condition. West said the elephant's brain is similar to a human's but larger, making study easier. But West said Tusko's death may have been a valuable contribution to research. Because of his death, West said his department would send notices to research centers warning against giving overdoses to humans.

(Image from Medical Tribune weekly newspaper, September 3, 1962)

* "Lysergic acid diethylamide: Its effects on a male Asiatic elephant" (Science magazine, December 7, 1962): @
* Summary from www.erowid.org: @
* "A dose of madness" (Guardian newspaper, August 2002): @
* More about elephant musth: @ (www.theelephantcharter.info) and @ (www.upali.ch)
* Obituaries of Louis Jolyon West: @ (New York Times) and @ (Los Angeles Times)
* "To scale or not to scale: The principles of dose extrapolation" (British Journal of Pharmacology, 2009): @


August 1962: Spider-Man

The character makes his first appearance as part of Marvel Comics' "Amazing Fantasy." The story tells how high school student Peter Parker acquired his superpowers. (A Spider-Man series would start in March 1963.)

* Spider-Man page from marvel.com: @
* Spider-Man page from comicbookdb.com: @
* More about first issue (from marvel.wikia.com): @
* www.spiderfan.org (fan site): @
* www.spider-man.info (fan site): @
* "Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America" (Bradford W. Wright, 2003): @
* "Webslinger: Unauthorized Essays on Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" (2007): @

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